While there’s been lots of talk about the chase for Olympic qualifying points in Huatulco, Mexico this weekend, it’s also worth keeping an eye on the action down under at the Oceania Championships and Cup Port Douglas in Australia on June 12, too. Based on the latest Olympic qualification simulation, Australia has qualified two men and two women for Tokyo. If they can get three athletes in the top-30 of the Olympic standings, though, that number could be boosted to three men and three women, equaling the current status of the American team.
A big race for Australia’s Jaz Hedgeland in Port Douglas this weekend could move her from 37th to the top 30 in the Olympic ranking, which would be enough to get Australia a third women’s spot at the Olympics. In the men’s standings Aaron Royle sits at 29th in the Olympic ranking, one spot ahead of American Eli Hemming. Those two will face off in Huatulco on Sunday morning. A win for Australian Luke Willian in Port Douglas this weekend would likely be enough to move him into the top 30, too, which would also do the trick to ensure Australia had a full quota of six athletes qualified for Tokyo.
Hedgeland will face a strong field that includes countrywomen Charlotte McShane, Emma Jeffcoat and Kelly-Ann Perkins in Port Douglas. New Zealand’s Nocole Van Der Kaay will also be one to watch for the women’s title. Willian will take on some strong Australian competition, too, including 2016 Olympian Ryan Fisher, Brandon Copeland, Matt Roberts and Matthew Hauser. New Zealand’s Tayler Reid and Trent Thorpe also promise to be in the mix.